How Andrew Gazdecki sold two start-ups in two years
Why building an audience can lead to startup success
Last week we shared some tips for balancing authenticity and mental health, as you build and grow your audience. Today, we’ll share with you the story of someone who has managed to do this extremely well: Andrew Gazdecki.
Not only is Andrew on the INC 30 under 30 entrepreneurs list, but he is also a founder with two exits under his belt. He is currently building a third company, while sharing his knowledge with his 200,000 Twitter followers. Let’s take a look at how he got here.
From college student to exited founder
As many young entrepreneurs, Andrew started small but was dreaming big. While studying at California State University, he founded his first startup, Bizzness Apps, right out of his dorm room. Despite the initial challenges the startup faced, Andrew's passion and determination paid off, and Bizzness Apps became the world's leading platform for mobile app publishing. That’s why the company made it to the INC 500 list of America's fastest-growing companies not once, but twice: it was 58th in 2014 and 91st a year later.
After 8 years of dedicated work, Andrew was approached by private equity firm ESW Capital with an offer to sell Bizzness Apps. Needless to say, he jumped at the chance to exit. After the acquisition, he could not sit still. He had to start another business. This time, circumstances were different.
How building an audience helped startup #2 succeed
Andrew decided to “build an audience and community before building a start-up”. He had no community support when he started his first company, but had accumulated a considerable audience on Twitter by the time he sold it. So the second time around, he leveraged his audience by creating a product for them: Altcoin.io.
Altcoin.io is a good example of why building an audience is so vital to success. Within months, the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platform had spread across multiple communities, offering one of the first peer-to-peer decentralized exchanges and fueling cryptocurrency adoption. Just like with Bizzness Apps, Andrew had created a useful product that stood out with its approach of targeting unserved markets, such as crypto investors and start-ups. It didn’t take long until the potential of Altcoin.io was discovered by other players in the industry, and in 2019, global investment firm BnkToTheFuture acquired the company.
Shooting for the stars
After successfully exiting from two startups and building a good-sized social media audience, Andrew was ready to take his entrepreneurial journey to the next level. He envisioned a platform that would enable small and middle-sized businesses to find potential buyers. This became the kernel for acquire.com, Andrew’s third and current company. He knew that starting such a service from scratch would be challenging, but he had a secret weapon: his loyal and engaged audience. The fact that they were interested in entrepreneurship and marketing was an added bonus. Savvy in both audience building and startups, Andrew decided to rely on his community when he launched his third business. Needless to say, this made acquire.com an immediate success. The rest, as they say, is history.
What can we learn from Andrew's journey? As an entrepreneur, you cannot overlook the importance of building an audience. It can be a powerful asset that provides support and allows your startup to grow organically. No matter what your main goal is, creating an engaged community can help you succeed. This means one thing only: don’t wait to start a community of your own. The sooner you do it, the sooner it will pay off.
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